When it comes to creating, Katie Bulley can be compared to the Energizer Bunny. She’s always go, go, go. From her days in a band to her new solo endeavors that led to the 2019 release of Train Insane; we talked about that never-ending drive to make music, what lessons are found in the world of busking, the importance of self-care, and much more in this back and forth.
Kendra: You stepped onto the stage at your first open mic about 13 years ago. From that moment to now, what have you learned about yourself as a creative force?
Katie Bulley: I’ve learned to free myself and not let others hold me back. I have chosen to not let fear control my performance or my songwriting. I realize I can’t cage my creative force, it has to roam free. My style has changed over the years and that’s why it needs freedom to roam genres because it’s limitless to where it can go.
Kendra: When your band called it quits after four years together, you wasted no time in transitioning back into a solo artist. Why didn’t you take the time to mourn the loss of The Barettas? Was it because you knew you eventually had to move on and the sooner, the better?
Katie Bulley: Songwriting is a big part of my self-care. All three of us were at different points in our lives, and I was hungry to create. I had a constant flow of songs coming to me which was unstoppable. As artists, we were all at different parts in our lives so I didn’t want to be held back nor did I want to hold them back from the things they were prioritizing in their lives. It wasn’t a decision that I rushed, but it was time to go our separate ways. I was exploding inside and eager to write songs. That’s why I created and ended the band.
Kendra: Living in Los Angeles, I’ve seen some great buskers and you too have spent some time down on the sidewalk singing to passersby. Do you feel like an artist can gain some next-level experience spending time as a busker? If so, what?
Katie Bulley: Humility. I had a bit of an ego when I was in The Barettas and busking taught me how to be humble. And I feel that those two characteristics are extremely important for any musician or anybody in life in general to acquire.
Kendra: Let’s talk about “Shadow Shadow Baby.” It reminded me of that movie Ingrid Goes West – where you are obsessed/in love with someone’s online persona. I feel like this does happen too often. Was this based on any reality in your own life?
Katie Bulley: That movie struck a chord with me because I have struggled with mental illness for a long time and have been to the psych ward multiple times. It’s not an easy topic but I know I’m not alone.
The grip social media has on our lives today is strong. It gives us the opportunity to live life vicariously through others and we lose focus on our own. That behavior is a slippery slope that can lead down a dark path just like Ingrid. You begin to feel like your life is inadequate when comparing to celebrities. I have sought professional help to help me with my mental troubles and have been provided tools and medication to carry on. With that, writing music, and living a sober life, I have gained more control over my life.
Kendra: We’re approaching the holidays, but after that, what are your plans as we head into 2020?
Katie Bulley: I’m going to keep moving forward with my music, I started taking lessons to sharpen my skills, trying to play more shows. But most importantly, I’m going to prioritize my mental health as number one but going to therapy and continuing to live a sober life.